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Cost of new cancer drugs increases pressure on Government budget

Paul Edwards

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“Of the cancer medicines being developed, 91% will be targeted therapies, which is likely to make these medicines more expensive.  Pressure on budgets will therefore only increase if something is not done now about cancer drug prices.”


Clink on this link to read an article in the online newsletter, MJA InSight,  about the increasing costs of cancer drugs.


Although the article doesn't offer any solutions to the problem, there are some interesting statistics about the number of cancer drugs (for all cancers, not just prostate cancer) that are likely to be on the market within 5 years.


The fact that "Australia represents about 1% of the global pharmaceutical market" explains why Australians have to wait for access to drugs long after they have been approved overseas. We're a very small market in the scheme of things.

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Unfortunately, the cost of developing new drugs seems to be hugely inflated by marketing costs, according to this article from the US-



Donald Light, a professor and expert on the pharma business model, said that while companies claim each new drugs costs them $1.2 billion, the true cost is more like 60 million."

It goes on to point out-

"Big Pharma tends to weaken the objectivity of even the most honest health professionals while encouraging them to overprescribe medications. Consider the numbers:

  • Advertising instead of research: For every $1 spent on “basic research,” Big Pharma spends $19 on promotions and advertising.
  • Distribution of free drug samples: The U.S. has one pharmaceutical sales representative for every five office-based physicians.
  • Sponsorship of symposiums and medical conventions: Drug and medical device makers spend lavishly on doctors, including covering meals, travel, seminars and conventions that sometimes look more like vacations."

(This information from the US site DRUGWATCH, which I note is sponsored by a law firm)





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